Pakistan needs staggering $2bn for refugee relief

June 12th, 2009 - 8:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Peshawar, June 12 (IANS) Pakistan needs a staggering $2.2 billion to rehabilitate the three million refugees who have been uprooted by the military’s anti-Taliban operations in the country’s restive northwest, Online news agency Friday quoted Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi as saying.
Talking to reporters during a visit to the Jalozai refugee camp near this North West Frontier Province (NWFP) capital, he said the US had given $300 million while Turkey had contributed $110 million.

Qureshi said the Pakistani government had begun negotiations with donor countries to raise the target amount for refugee relief, while talks on this had also been held with the heads of UN agencies in Pakistan.

Noting that donor agencies and UN bodies had stocks only till July, Qureshi said if fresh aid did not arrive by then, Pakistan would make good the requirements from its own resources.

“We can reduce our development budget and we can reduce our expenditure, but the IDPs(internally displaced persons) would not be (left) disappointed (due to lack of relief goods), the foreign minister maintained.

All resources would be utilized for the rehabilitation of the refugees, he said, adding that their return would be ensured in a phased manner after the revival of the civil administration in the Swat, Buner and Lower Dir areas of the NWFP where the military operations are underway.

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